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short takes (1)

When it comes to Shakespeare, revisionism can be fun. For about the first half hour, I was fascinated by Derek Jarman's backward version of The Tempest, with its vindictive Prospero, sullen Ariel, stupid Miranda, and so forth. But then the mood turns subtly malevolent, the images get uncomfortably claustrophobic, and I began to sense a feeling of nastiness behind the whole project. The campy conclusion -- complete with a jazz singer doing "Stormy Weather" -- didn't help. There are redeeming moments along the way, but most of this unpleasant movie is just ugly.